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E Waste in Africa

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Destination for Obsolete Electronics

Lagos, Nigeria is one popular place for old trashed Tv's and computers from the west.

Supposedly they are "donated" - but about 75% of them do not work. They are usually burned or dumped in swamps.

In 2005, the Basel Action Network (BAN), a Seattle-based environmental group, made headlines with its investigation of e-waste exports to Africa.

Ship loads come in from Europe, The United States, Japan- all over the world. According to this video, 500 containers come in each month, with about 800 pieces in each.

One could hypothesize that volumes of e-waste equal to 100,000 computers or CPUs, or 44,000 TV sets, enter Africa each month through Lagos alone.

Numerous efforts to limit the flow of e-waste to developing countries are under way even as export volumes continue to grow.

As it stands now, e-waste exports from the United States are illegal only under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and within that law, only if the exports wind up disposed of overseas. As long as the export goal is “recycling,” U.S. shippers can legally send e-waste wherever they wish.

To keep your stuff out of the waste stream, and even get paid for them, see the video:

"Re commerce For Your Electronics" also in our Reducing Waste section on the company

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by BAN